This is a copy of the letter sent to all members of the 1971 group, inviting them to this year’s 50th Reunion.
The autumn of 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of our arrival as Freshers at Somerville in 1971. We hope to celebrate the occasion with as many of us as possible by organising a two-day reunion in College on 22–23 September. We would love to see you; it will be time to catch up, reflect, renew friendships and forge new ones. Of course we appreciate that our plans are always subject to the possibility that Covid may yet again intervene, but we feel that we should be optimistic and make arrangements for a live reunion.
We are very sorry that the uncertain course of the pandemic has prevented us from giving you as much notice as we would have liked, but if this September is impossible, especially for those living outside the UK, you would be welcome instead to join the 50th reunion for 1972, which we anticipate will be scheduled for September 2022.
If you are in touch with any of our contemporaries who may not be on email, or not in touch with the College at all, please spread the word and encourage them to send their contact details to Lisa Gygax (email@example.com) so that we may include them too.
A small group of us has come together to plan the reunion and our names and pictures appear below. If you would like to get more involved in making the arrangements, please just let us know.
As a prelude to the reunion Elizabeth Harbord (Harris, Lit.Hum) has very kindly volunteered to produce a booklet of biographies for the year and you will already have received her letter about this (a copy may be viewed here); if you have not yet sent in your biography, please do, whether you plan to come to the reunion itself or not. Don’t be put off by the original deadline; it is never too late for your biography to be included, but it does make the job easier for Elizabeth if you send in your copy sooner rather than later! We will circulate electronic copies of the booklet to all members of the year in due course and in addition hard copies to those who come to the reunion (please let Lisa Gygax know if you object to this).
During the reunion there will be a Library exhibition of publications by members of our year and there will also be an exhibition of memorabilia – so please look out anything you may have to remind us of 1971 – photographs, diaries, letters, programmes, newspaper cuttings – and we will display these during the reunion. If you can possibly send digital copies in advance to the College archivist, Kate O’Donnell (firstname.lastname@example.org), that would be a great help.
It seems appropriate after 50 years to look back and ask ourselves – What did Somerville do for us? What difference did it make to our lives? We are sure that we all wish future generations to have the benefit of the sort of Oxford education we had. Sadly the College’s financial circumstances are now very different from our days, when so much was free to many of us. Is this the moment to give something back to Somerville? The Treasurer estimates that in this financial year the College may suffer a loss of up to £2m of its endowment because of its need to make up for the loss of its income from undergraduate rentals, from conference income and from commercial rents from the shops in Little Clarendon St. The greatest help to Somerville in this exceptional year would be a contribution to the 1971 50th anniversary year gift, which will take the form of unrestricted funding and allow the College flexibility to use the support wherever it is most needed.
We hope you will come to this reunion and contribute to the biographies booklet, regardless of whether you wish to join in any giving. For the moment it is only necessary to say that if the reunion can be classified as a charity fundraising event it will be VAT exempt and therefore the College charges to you for this for this Reunion will not be subject to VAT (currently a saving to you of 20%).
If anyone would like to attend the reunion, or any part of it, but is unable to afford the College charges, there is a ‘Senior Members Fund’ which may be able to help. Please contact Lisa Gygax to make further enquiries about this.
We very much hope that most members of the year will be able to join us here this September and we really look forward to seeing you. Our matriculation photograph is on the College website, so if you would like to see yourself as you were in 1971, please take a look.
You can book online, and pay either online or over the telephone, by clicking here.
If you prefer not to use the online form, a printable copy of the booking form may be found here. Completed forms should be mailed to the Development Office and you will be able to pay by credit or debit card by telephoning the office.
All the relevant links can be accessed below,
With warmest good wishes,
Santha Bhattacharji (English), Ann Buxton (Boggis-Rolfe, Mod Langs), Clara Freeman (Jones, History), Elizabeth Harbord (Harris, Lit.Hum), Shabu Karimjee (Medicine), Mary Keegan (Physics), Pat Sellers (Burns, Chemistry), Trudy Watt (Agricultural & Forest Sciences)